Beach House is a pretty perfect name for Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally’s warm and sleepy gloam-pop duo, but they might have called themselves Bring a Book. Teen Dream, like lounging in a hammock on oceanfront property, is pleasurable and soothing, but park your ass in one place, no matter how pleasant, for too long and your mind starts to wander.
The third such album from Beach House, Dream comes closest yet to being a collection of memorable songs instead of a 45-minute block of beautiful ephemera, but cuts like “Walk in the Park,” “Lover of Mine,” and “Real Love,” which are exactly what their titles suggest and coast on minimal percussion and time-tested melodic chord combos, aren’t exactly destination tracks. You just appreciate the ambience as you pass through. “Zebra” and “10 Mile Stereo” are more remarkable, if only for giving you something interesting to think about, and “Silver Soul” and “Norway” feature just enough enjoyable experimentation to merit prime playlist placement, for a few months at least.
Upping the catchiness by tightening the rhythm has shrunk the sonic space Legrand so gracefully fills, but her voice remains the main draw. Her delivery of the simplistic earworm in “Used to Be,” however, reveals Beach House’s biggest flaw: The music is stunningly pretty but it lacks emotional depth, like a seaside sunset printed on a postcard. — Jeremy Martin